Pursuing a college education has become almost unbelievably expensive in recent years. Even if you pay in-state tuition at a public school, earning your bachelor’s degree may cost you thousands of dollars per year. Luckily, the federal government provides subsidized financial aid to millions of students annually.
In the past, a drug-related conviction during a student’s award period caused an immediate suspension of government-backed loans, grants and work-study dollars. Thanks to a recent change in policy, this is no longer the case.
Qualifying for government-backed financial aid
Students who want to qualify for government-backed financial aid must prepare and file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid by their university’s deadline. This deadline may be early in the academic year, so you do not want to miss it.
If you have a drug-related conviction, such as possessing or selling a controlled substance, you must disclose it when you complete your FAFSA. Then, you must complete an additional worksheet to provide further information about the conviction.
While it is important to provide truthful information, you do not have to worry about losing your government-backed financial aid because of your drug conviction.
Protecting yourself from related academic consequences
Even though you may retain your federal financial aid after your drug conviction, having a conviction on your record may be problematic for a couple of reasons.
First, your conviction may cause you to forfeit your private scholarships or university stipend. Second, you may face academic discipline for drug-associated conduct. Depending on your university’s rules, this discipline may include suspension or even expulsion.
Ultimately, while your drug-related conviction may no longer make college unaffordable, defending yourself against any drug charges you are facing may be an effective way to avoid other education-related consequences.